After leading the way yesterday, Sam Lowes set the fastest-ever lap around the Le Mans circuit on a Moto2 bike on his way to claiming pole position. He will be joined on the front row of the grid tomorrow by Alonso Lopez and Tony Arbolino.
As expected in Q1, no rider was certain to make it through to the second round of qualifying, but Jeremy Alcoba, Dennis Foggia and Fermin Aldeguer hoped they could secure a top-four position in Q1 to get them onto the front six rows of the grid. Few riders were able to test out the track with slick tyres this morning due to the track conditions.
Lukas Tulovic set the early pace with a 1.36.539 and this remained the top time until the final moments of the session when Fermin Aldeguer went 0.1s faster around the Le Mans circuit. Along with the Speed Up Racing and Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP riders, Barry Baltus and Bo Bendsneyder made it through the second round of qualifying.
In the second part of qualifying, Filip Salac and Celestino Vietti were topping the time sheets early on with a 1:36.135 and 1:36.178 respectively. Pedro Acosta struggled with the bike towards the start of the session, slotting into sixth place just over two-tenths off the pace set by Salac.
With just under eight minutes to go, Bendsneyder went down in the fourth sector. This cancelled the laps of multiple riders but also allowed them to regroup and plan their attacks for the rest of the session.
Arbolino, Jake Dixon and Lowes were following each other on the track with five and a half minutes to go, setting fastest sector after fastest sector. The tow provided by the two riders in front of Lowes, allowed the ELF Marc VDS Racing Team rider to set the fastest lap around the circuit on a Moto2 bike with a 1:35.791.
Tulovic and Dixon went down at the same time at turns nine and seven respectively causing yellow flags in sectors two, three and four with just over two minutes left on the clock. Luckily, these flags were cleared quickly.
With five seconds left, Lopez crossed the line to go second fastest with a 1:36.036. He was about to start his final flying lap before Aron Canet crashed and caused a red flag. The red flag was due to Canet’s bike being in the middle of the track.
Following the red flag, the session did not restart as there were only a few seconds left on the clock. This means that, for the second race in a row, Lowes will start with no other rider in front of him. Championship leader Acosta starts the race from the middle of the second row with Salac ahead of him and Vietti behind.
|2023 FRENCH MOTO2 GRAND PRIX, LE MANS – QUALIFYING RESULTS|
|1||Sam Lowes||GBR||Elf Marc VDS Racing Team||(Kalex)||1m 35.791s|
|2||Alonso Lopez||SPA||Lightech SpeedUp||(Boscoscuro)||1m 36.036s|
|3||Tony Arbolino||ITA||Elf Marc VDS Racing Team||(Kalex)||1m 36.053s|
|4||Filip Salac||CZE||QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2||(Kalex)||1m 36.135s|
|5||Pedro Acosta||SPA||Red Bull KTM Ajo||(Kalex)||1m 36.169s|
|6||Celestino Vietti||ITA||Fantic Racing||(Kalex)||1m 36.178s|
|7||Somkiat Chantra||THA||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||(Kalex)||1m 36.180s|
|8||Jake Dixon||GBR||Inde GASGAS Aspar M2||(Kalex)||1m 36.225s|
|9||Manuel Gonzalez||SPA||Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46||(Kalex)||1m 36.354s|
|10||Barry Baltus||BEL||Fieten Olie Racing GP||(Kalex)||1m 36.437s|
|11||Fermín Aldeguer||SPA||Lightech SpeedUp||(Boscoscuro)||1m 36.474s|
|12||Albert Arenas||SPA||Red Bull KTM Ajo||(Kalex)||1m 36.537s|
|13||Aron Canet||SPA||Pons Wegow Los40||(Kalex)||1m 36.686s|
|14||Bo Bendsneyder||NED||Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team||(Kalex)||1m 36.726s|
|15||Lukas Tulovic||GER||Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP||(Kalex)||1m 36.794s|
|16||Ai Ogura||JPN||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||(Kalex)||1m 36.998s|
|17||Joe Roberts||USA||Italtrans Racing Team||(Kalex)||1m 37.005s|
|18||Sergio Garcia||SPA||Pons Wegow Los40||(Kalex)||1m 37.060s|
|19||Sean Dylan Kelly||USA||American Racing||(Kalex)||1m 36.726s|
|20||Jeremy Alcoba||SPA||QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2||(Kalex)||1m 36.836s|
|21||Marcos Ramirez||SPA||Forward Team||(Forward)||1m 36.959s|
|22||Zonta Vd Goorbergh||NED||Fieten Olie Racing GP||(Kalex)||1m 36.966s|
|23||Dennis Foggia||ITA||Italtrans Racing Team||(Kalex)||1m 37.123s|
|24||Senna Agius||AUS||Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP||(Kalex)||1m 37.134s|
|25||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||ITA||Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team||(Kalex)||1m 37.426s|
|26||Rory Skinner||GBR||American Racing||(Kalex)||1m 37.642s|
|27||Borja Gomez||SPA||Fantic Racing||(Kalex)||1m 37.827s|
|28||Izan Guevara||SPA||Inde GASGAS Aspar M2||(Kalex)||1m 37.879s|
|29||Alex Escrig||SPA||Forward Team||(Forward)||1m 38.500s|
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP